How to Choose the Best Balaclava Mask

On a sharp, cold winter’s day, your skin tends to get dry, rough, and chapped, causing it discomfort. Leaving your face bare in the frigid and windswept winter environment can leave it more prone to frostbites, wind bites, or other related types of irritations. Prolonged exposure to the combination of wind, cold, and sun can lead to severe skin irritations.

To prevent all of these things from happening, you should wear a balaclava. It’s a must-have clothing item that will keep your head, face, and neck protected from the unforgivingly freezing winter months.

A balaclava is a type of clothing item worn in the head, face, and neck area to protect them from the harsh weather elements, most especially during the cold winter seasons. A balaclava is designed to cover only part of the face, usually exposing the eyes, nose, and mouth. 

Depending on the design or the wearer’s preference, a balaclava can leave only the eyes or the entire front of the face (the eyes, nose, and mouth) exposed. It keeps the skin of your face and skin warm and dry even in the coldest and harshest weather conditions. 

How to choose the best balaclava?

Not all balaclavas are made the same, so what one type of balaclava would be suitable for one won’t be ideal for another. Balaclavas are also available in different colors and designs. But no matter what design you prefer, you should consider the basics of choosing the perfect balaclava for you:

1. The fabric

The overall quality of a fabric is what makes a good balaclava. Make sure that it is made of high-quality fabric, and that it is allergy-free so that it won’t cause rashes. Look for a balaclava made with cloth of superior quality that can make your warm and dry – “dry” in the sense that it won’t be exposed to any moisture, but not “dry” in another sense that it will make your skin rough.

You might as well look for a balaclava made of polyester fleece reinforced with Lycra or Spandex fabric to allow stretchability, as well as to generate heat and provide your face and neck protection against snow, dust, etc.

There are also balaclavas with temperature control technology, which makes them a good investment.

2. Size

Many balaclavas sold today are “one size fits all,” which makes them suitable for both men and women. Still, you have to test how stretchy a balaclava is so that it can fit perfectly well on you. Some balaclavas do not have enough stretchable fabric that makes it painful to wear and take off. Make sure to read the description first on the product carefully before making a choice.

3.The design

The smallest design details are what make a big difference in many balaclavas. For extra protection, it’s better to choose a balaclava with a longer neck and an extra-long fabric for the front face to protect yourself from the bitingly cold air or wind. Also, a four-way stretch with flatlock seams would lead to fewer layers to chafe the skin. It’s also important to buy a balaclava that will not just keep you warm but will also wick away sweat and moisture.

4.Range of vision

While a balaclava is designed to protect your face, it’s still important that it gives you enough range of vision. Choose a balaclava that has a large enough hole for your eyes.

5. Versatility

Choose a balaclava that has lots of purposes – the one that you can wear in many different ways. A lot of balaclavas are designed to be rolled, pleated or folded as a neck gaiter, bonnet, bandana, do-rag, mask, scarf, hood, headband, face mask, and a lot more. It is like buying many head gears for one price!

When you have considered all or most of the factors above, you can score the best balaclava that should serve you well and last for years. If you are much into winter sports or other winter and alpine activities, a balaclava is undoubtedly a must-have clothing gear.

Here are some of the best balaclavas that you might want to check out:

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Fantastic Zone Balaclava
Buff Lightweight Balaclava
Self-Pro Ski Mask Balaclava
Zerdocean Thermal Full Face Balaclava
BCOCOB Balaclava (2-pack)



1. Fantastic Zone Balaclava

In only a few adjustments, this multi-purpose balaclava can be worn in many ways: as a face mask, neck gaiter, scarf, open balaclava, winter hat, and a lot more.

While this balaclava can protect your face from harsh winter winds, it can also wick away moisture and dry breath and moisture off it, thanks to its polyester fabric and superior design. Its four-way stretch fabric ensures that your skin won’t be chafed and irritated every time you wear it and take it off.

2. Buff Lightweight Balaclava

The design of this balaclava is unusual because it comes in a tube-like form. It’s made of 100% Merino wool and has been popular among hikers and backpackers for its usefulness and versatility. You can use it in at least a dozen styles that range from neck gaiter to headband to full balaclava.

It may be soft and lightweight, but it’s also engineered to be wind-resistant at the same time. Because of its multi-purpose nature, you can wear it in any season, all-year-round.

3. Self-Pro Ski Mask Balaclava

This balaclava has been rated as the “best overall” on many lists of the best balaclavas on the market. It has a simple look and design, yet is made of high-quality materials. The company behind this balaclava, Self Pro, introduces its proprietary CoolMax premium hi-tech polyester fibers for maximum breathability, absorbency, and excellent ability to wick moisture away from your skin during warm days. It is good to wear on its own or under a helmet. It is an all-around balaclava that you can wear to protect your face against the cold, sun, and wind, making it an ideal gear for outdoor sports.

4. Zerdocean Thermal Full Face Balaclava

Among the most outstanding features about this balaclava is its perforated mesh vent that allows you to breathe easily protecting your face from harsh weather elements. The nose area is molded to ensure a perfect, snug fit, while the soft fleece lining provides warmth and comfort.

While it keeps everything but your eyes covered, Zerdocean’s balaclava is made of stretchable fabric that allows the wearer free movement. The chin and hood can be pulled off when the sun comes out. It is a unisex, “one size fits all” balaclava.

5. BCOCOB Balaclava (2-pack)

If you’re looking for a decent, multi-purpose balaclava, but you’re on a budget, the BCOCOB will be right up your alley! Plus, not you’ll get one, but two balaclavas! But is it a “best buy”?

Let’s look at the specs of this balaclava: it covers your head, forehead, neck, chin, mouth and cheeks, but leaves your eyes and face open for vision and easy breathing. If you need to breathe more freely, you can pull the balaclava’s chin area down. It can also be converted into a neck warmer or a scarf.

As for the material, it is made of soft and lightweight polyester; thus, it can be also be used during warmer months to protect you from sunlight and dust. It can also be worn under a helmet. Overall, this budget balaclava surprisingly plays it big when it comes to function and quality.